business news in context, analysis with attitude

Two stories this morning that point to how Amazon is making moves designed to removing any barriers between customers and the products they need and want and are available on Amazon...

• The Seattle Times reports that a new study from Morgan Stanley estimates that Amazon sold more than 11 million Echo devices during the recent end-of-year holiday shopping season, an "estimate that hints at the sizable territory the e-commerce giant has already staked out in the brewing contest for artificial-intelligence dominance."

The story goes on: "Amazon says there are 'tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices out there,' but that number includes gadgets made by Amazon that also harbor Alexa, such as the Fire tablet and those made by third-parties that have embraced the platform. At the recent CES conference in Las Vegas, companies from Whirlpool to LG to Lenovo announced a multitude of Alexa-enabled appliances and devices."

Re/code reports that Amazon has unveiled yet another iteration of its Dash buttons, which were introduced as a way to make it easier for people to reorder products they'd previously purchased. The buttons could be affixed to relevant locations - a laundry detergent button next to the washing machine, for example, or as diaper button next to a changing table - so that when the customer sees supplies running low, a simple push of the button could place an order for replenishment.

Now, Amazon has come up with a digital version of the Dash buttons - if you go to your Amazon home page (which, it needs to be emphasized, is different for every single person who goes there, based on purchase and viewing history), there now are buttons for previously purchased items on the screen.

The story says that "the new features are as much about Amazon demonstrating it will continue to come up with new ways to shrink the time between 'want' and 'buy' as it is about actually selling more face wash. From that standpoint, mission accomplished."
KC's View:
We've said it here often, but I honestly don't think it can be said enough. It is all about creating an ecosystem in which Amazon is the first, best place for people to check for pretty much everything. That seems to be happening with increasing frequency, and Amazon is certain that it can get a sizable percentage of those transactions. As it does, the competition will get a smaller percentage.

It is simple math. It is also a matter of what game you're playing. Most retailers are playing checkers. Amazon is playing chess.